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I42                             THE GAY GENIUS

if there was one man in that period thoroughly devoted to speculation
about the body and its internal functions and the study of medicinal
herbs and teas, it was Su Tungpo.

She was sane and she was steady, which a poet usually is not. Her
husband was often impatient, despondent, and moody. In contrast,,
Mrs. Su once said on a moonlight night in spring: "I like the spring
moon, much better. The autumn moon makes one too sad, while the
spring moon makes everybody happy and contented." A few years
later, at Michow, when they were very poor and Su Tungpo was
greatly angered at the introduction of the new income tax, he was
once annoyed by his children tugging at his gown and bothering

"The children are so silly/' said Su.

**You are the silly one," replied his wife. "What good will it do you
to sit around and brood the whole day? Come, I will make you m,

In a poem recording this incident, the poet said that he felt ashamed
of himself, and the wife began to clean the cups and prepare warm
wine for him. This, of course, made him very happy and he said that
she was much better than the wife of the poet Liu Ling, who asked
her husband not to drink.

But there was one corner of Su's heart, hidden from most, which-
Mrs. Su must have known about. That was his first love for his cousin,
who to us, unfortunately, is nameless. Being the confiding soul he
always was, Su Tungpo must have told his wife about it. His deep*
affection for the cousin afterwards lay buried in two poems that passed
unnoticed by all students of the poet's works.

Su Tungpo did not stay all the time at Hangchow but took frequent
trips south-west, west, and north. From November 1073 to March
1074, he went up to the neighbourhood of Shanghai, Kiashing, Chang-
chow, and Chinkiang, which in the Sung dynasty were parts of the
province of Chekiang. His cousin-sister was now married to Liu
Chungyuan and living in the neighbourhood of Chinkiang. He
remained in his cousin's home for three months, and although he versi-
fied a tremendous lot on this trip and wrote and travelled constantly^
in the company of his cousin's father-in-law, Liu Chin, he never oncag
mentioned his cousin's husband or wrote a poem to him. He also
wrote a poem about a family dinner at his cousin's home, and two
poems on calligraphy to his cousin's two boys when they came to ask
for his autograph. Su Tungpo had great respect for Liu Chin as a poet
aad as a cafligraphist, and also thought a lot of his cousin's children.
But the complete silence about the cousin's husband durine- this trir>
is hard to explain.